Outdoor recreation in Westmeath received a major boost with €295,732 allocated for projects here, a Fine Gael Minister of State has said.


Mullingar’s Peter Burke said it is brilliant to see such wonderful amenities which are used extensively by all supported in this manner by the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS).


“With the pandemic, it is even more important that we have outdoor facilities to afford people an opportunity to get outdoors, exercise and spend time taking in their amenities.


Westmeath benefits from a total Government pot of €6.5m in funding for outdoor recreational amenities nationwide with 38 projects in total supported,” Burke said.


“Scragh Bog, one of our hidden treasures just on the outskirts of Mullingar, has received €169,723 to extend the existing walking and cycle trail to link from Cullion-Levington to Scragh Bog.  The existing small carpark will be repaired and expanded.


“Then in Moate, all locals will be familiar with the fantastic tourist attraction and community Park Dún na Sí.  €126,000 will be spent here to improve, repair and extend the outdoor path system, and improve the equipment and toilet facilities.  This will benefit locals and tourists alike as we re-open our county over the summer months.


“I will continue to work with Minister for Rural and Community Affairs Heather Humphreys to support funding of such worthwhile projects here in Westmeath. I must also commend Cllr Andrew Duncan in Mullingar and Cllr Tom Farrell in Moate who supported these projects being put forward for consideration by Westmeath County Council.  I believe it is vital that we continue to build resilience in rural communities and make our towns, villages and communities vibrant places for families to live.


“We have seen the value of outdoor pursuits over the last 12 months. Spring is upon us and summer is approaching – these facilities will be much used and appreciated by all,” Peter Burke said.


Minister Humphreys said, “The value we place on our outdoor amenities, and the contribution which they make to our physical and mental wellbeing, has never been more appreciated than during the current COVID-19 pandemic.


“We can also expect our outdoor recreation facilities to play an important part in supporting Ireland’s social and economic recovery as restrictions on movements are relaxed and the tourism sector re-opens.


“That’s why I’m delighted to support the continued development and enhancement of our outdoor recreation infrastructure through this €6.5 million investment. This brings the total investment this year alone under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme to €9.7 million. These facilities will make such a difference to communities and will also have a hugely positive impact on tourism.